Well, today was a big day. I got the text the night before for a ride to the Rock Store. I had heard of the Rock Store route, and I knew it was a tough climb. I hadn’t ridden all week, so I was rested and up to the challenge. I met Noreen and Gail at The Landing in Westlake Village at 7:00 am. It was an early call, but I didn’t have to wake up that early, since I didn’t have to drive as far as Ventura.

We left The Landing and made our way to the Rock Store. On the way, we made several stops and Noreen was teaching me about shifting. I still didn’t know what I was doing. And then Noreen told me to look down and then it clicked. I saw two wheels – a big one and a small one. Noreen explained the small one was for uphill and the big one was for downhill. It started to make sense. I kept on repeating to myself, little is up, big is down. I remembered little up since the first letters – LU – spell my name. Well, once I had that in my arsenal, I was a way better cyclist almost immediately. I started looking down and shifting for going uphill and shifting for going downhill. Then we reached the Rock Store. It was a quaint store and the exterior was made of rock. It was a landmark of sorts, but you could stop for something to eat if you wanted. We continued on.

It was uphill all the way. Gail and I took several stops, but we eventually made it to the top where Noreen was waiting. She got up the hill a lot faster than we did. I never could have gotten up the hill if I hadn’t learned that very basic concept of little wheel for uphill and big wheel for downhill. Once I understood that then I could shift to make it easier or a little bit harder.

Gail and I talked and she told me that there was no minimum for the ride. Thank God! I had no idea how I was going to raise $3,500 and I didn’t want to put it on my credit card, since I had finally gotten my balances down.

Once we got to the top we rested for a bit and then we headed back. We didn’t go down the same way we came up. We had a couple more hills, but they were easy hills compared to what we had just done. And then we were on the downhill. I remember passing a few cyclists who were stopped on the side of the rode and one of them yelled out, “Now is your reward.” So, I knew it would be good, but I had no idea the downhill would be that steep. It was a fast downhill and I did apply the brakes a few times, but it was a sweet ride.

Once we got the to the bottom of the hill, we made our way back to The Landing. I rode 23.33 miles with an elevation of 2,115 feet.

I got home and took at bath in Epsom salt and I felt really good.

Later in the day, Gail texted me about tomorrow. We decided to do an easy recovery ride up Rincon Beach to Bates – about 25 miles. I said, “Yes!” I thought it would be good to do two rides consecutively. I remember Peggy telling me to make that a goal – to ride consecutive days.

Later that night I got online and I ordered a mirror and a pair of pedals. I had no idea all that was involved in becoming a cyclist. It is quite an investment.